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An aggravated offence of elder abuse would take account of the frailty of victims and the circumstances of the abuse. Theft does not kill younger victims, but it can kill older ones because trauma has a negative effect on the immune system of older people. if we accept the argument about ‘aggravated offences’ for racially/religiously motivated crimes, why not for older people?
For twenty three years we have heard successive Governments, Assemblies, and politicians, express their abhorrence of elder abuse - It is intolerable in a civilised society, we must root it out, older people expect better, etc., etc. They say the right things. But when the opportunity comes to legislate we see a different picture. Some parts of the UK take action, but never enough. In others, the enthusiasm disappears quickly. No one addresses the extent and complexity of elder abuse.
This cannot continue any longer. This must not continue any longer. Claims that we are doing enough, that we have sufficient laws, that we have to strike balances that we never do when it comes to children, must end. We need consistency across the UK. Protection must not depend on your age or where you live.
It doesn’t seem to matter how cruel someone is to a frail older person, or when they inflict their cruelty, our Criminal Justice System will still deliver what amounts to only a mild rebuke to the perpetrator. Is it any wonder that abuse continues and continues and continues?
The law needs to change in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Elder abuse is a crime, it should be made one.
The Criminal Justice system is failing to protect older victims of abuse and neglect. Most cases are never prosecuted – although many should be – and police cautions are used as a cheap and easy way of avoiding the time and cost of prosecution (cautions are not criminal convictions). And even when cases are taken to court the result is invariably a suspended sentence or community service. When is this going to end?
The UK recognises the special needs of children, the special needs of Hate Crime victims, the special needs of domestic abuse victims, and even the special needs of animals. So why not the special needs of older people?
There are too many examples of Courts failing to deliver adequate sentencing for some dreadful abuses of older people. How bad does it have to get before they do something meaningful?
Add your name to the growing number of people who believe that our older generations deserve better from the criminal justice system. With enough support we can ensure that politicians listen and respond.
Why not write to your political representative to voice your support for the campaign. It would be helpful for them to hear from constituents about why this matters, and why we need change. Find out more here.